Mental Health Week — May 2 – 8

Empathy, before you weigh in, tune in

Mental Health Week is a time to reflect on our own mental well-being, but also a time to remember to listen and support others, and to talk openly and freely about mental illness without judgment or stigma.

The theme this year brings our focus on the concept of empathy, calling on all of us to keep our minds and our hearts open to feel others’ pain as a way to be of better help.

Many people's mental health has been significantly impacted during this unprecedented time, and as we continue to adapt to our COVID-19 reality, it is essential that we invest in growing our ability to put ourselves in others’ shoes. 

Empathy can make a tremendous difference in the lives of to those suffering, both in our private circles and at work. 

Mental health in the workplace

Though there are causes of anguish in life that we cannot control, like the pandemic, your workplace should never become a cause of mental anguish and lead you to burn out or into depression. 

And yet, work-related burnout in Canada remains high. According to new research, more than one-third (35 per cent) of all working Canadians are feeling burned out.

There are many causes of burnout and depression at work, and they often include constant stress, excessive workload, unreasonable demands, unclear expectations, and lack of work-life balance. It can also be the result of poor psychosocial conditions, such as the lack of civility and respect, low engagement, the inability to grow and advance one’s career, lack of support, lack of rewards and recognition, and so on.  
Toxic, unsafe, unhealthy, and unwholesome workplaces can severely demoralize employees and lead to job burnout.  In extreme cases, it can also bring someone to the edge of despair to the point of contemplating taking her or his own life

Mental health protections

Federal employee’s health and safety are protected by the Canadian Labour Code and by working conditions guarantees covered in their collective agreement. They also have the right to a civil and respectful workplace free of discrimination and harassment, protected by the Human Rights Act

CAPE members have a right to a workplace that cares about their mental well-being and nurtures safe and healthy working conditions, and that can provide means to support them through difficult times.

Mental health is everyone’s responsibility

We can all play a role in creating and promoting a workplace that is kind and caring. This year, during Mental Health Week, CAPE invites you to take a moment to check in with yourself and your mental health, but also to pay attention to the emotions and experiences of your colleagues without judgement. 

CAPE continues to be a champion for mental health by advocating for safe, healthy, and secure workplaces for all.

Rights and Resources

An unhealthy workplace can trigger mental stress, which can lead to a more serious condition. Get to know your rights and the employer’s responsibilities to safeguard your health and safety, including your mental well-being. 

Canadian Center for Occupation Health and Safety “job burnout”.
The Employer’s Duty to Accommodate is an employee’s right and is covered by the Human Rights Code. Mental illnesses fall under the protected grounds as a disability.  

Read the Guideline for Psychological Health in the Workplace to access valuable resources regarding workplace psychological health.

The right to a safe and healthy workplace

According to your collective agreements, the employer is responsible for making workplace health and safety a priority. It is also mandated to consult with a bargaining agent about health and safety concerns.
Article 37 for EC 
Article 25 for TR
Article 31 for LoP 
Article 31 for OPBO 

Occupational health and safety is also covered in the Canada Labour Code. Part II of the Code outlines your right to complain about a suspected or confirmed unhealthy and unsafe situation. The internal complaint resolution process for health and safety contraventions is covered in sections 127.1(1) and 127.1(3).

National Service Call Centre and OHS Committee 

You can also call the National Service Call Centre at 1-800-463-1850 and/or the Occupational Health and Safety Committee in your workplace to inform them of the situation and seek further guidance.

Do you have questions? Contact your Labour Relations Officer or your Local

Help Centres

Preventing suicide: Warning signs and how to help
Centre of Expertise on Mental Health in the Workplace
Crisis Hotlines across Canada
Resources – Caring for your Mental Health during COVID-19
Get help with problematic substance use
COVID-19: Mental Wellness and Personal Safety